Earth Heroes by Lily Dyu is an essential kids’ book for our times. It charts the journeys of 20 green champions across the planet. These include famous figures such as Greta Thunberg to lesser-known heroes such as Mohammed Rezwan and Sheilwa Watt-Cloutier. Each person’s journey fills a chapter of 10 to 12 pages, making this easily digestible for 8-12 year olds. It’s a great way to introduce environmental issues to kids.
The topics are wide-ranging – stretching from climate activism through to rainforest defense. Dyu had a real knack of combining storytelling with science and manages to explain complex ideas in a simple way. Even at 7, Little M clearly understood the ideas that the book tackles. She was delighted by Isabel Soares’ initiative to reduce food waste by selling ‘ugly fruit’ and I was surprised by her reaction. It really captured her imagination. So too, Isatou Ceesay’s mission to turn waste into useful objects. Throughout, we see ‘everyday’ people doing amazing things. They start small and then their visions expand into something world-changing. Inspiration exists on every page.
Another aspect that makes the book special is the focus on Indigenous Earth heroes. Frequently, media only profiles those who fit the affluent white narrative, but this doesn’t reflect the truth on the ground. Our environmentalists live and act globally. Often they start with very little. The stories of Marina Silva (Brazilian rainforest protector) and William Kamkwamba (Malawian renewable energy engineer) are two such examples. Their intelligence and determination to help their communities is inspirational.
The images at the beginning of each chapter add to the reading experience too. Illustrator Jackie Lay weaves her fantastic artwork around photos of the heroes – bringing them to life. Little M was interested in seeing these and mentioned how young some of them were. Again, this adds to the inspirational quality of the book. Age is not a barrier here – and in many ways, it’s a strength. As Dyu writes in the conclusion ‘You too can change the world’.
As we celebrate World Environmental Day 2020, we need people to adopt sustainable lifestyles more than ever. Earth Heroes by Lily Dyu not introduces kids to environmental issues, it also highlights the need for climate justice. As Earth inhabitants, we have a duty to care for our planet and ensure that everyone can survive comfortably in harmony with nature. This is not just a book for children, but for adults who want to learn more about the green movement too. Please add it to your library.
Our thanks to Nosy Crow for gifting this hardback edition.
- Age: 8-12
- Publisher: Nosy Crow
- ISBN: 9781788008525
You can buy the book here.
If you enjoyed this review, you might want to see our other book reviews.
Photo: The Book Family Rogerson